Many people consider themselves travelers when they go to 8 different countries in a span of 10 days and they only go to the most popularly visited cities. To me, that isn’t real traveling. That’s not taking in the culture and really getting to know a city. It’s not learning the local formalities and it’s not discovering the quirks of what makes each place unique.
I feel like to really travel – to really absorb that which is the essence of going far and away to experience a completely different place on this earth and the way of life of its inhabitants – is to spend at least 3-4 weeks taking in everything and to be going to places outside of the normal touristy destinations.
It’s when you’re trudging through a small city in a far away land that hasn’t even come into contact with many outsiders is when you truly experience travel. And it goes both ways. You allow inhabitants of that city to experience you as a traveler – as a novelty – something that wouldn’t happen in say Paris or London or even Warsaw.
The reactions that you get from locals of “What in the world are you doing in our small town?” are priceless. The hospitality that you get from these locals is also far greater than you’d get from a local from a major city. And you’ll see things that no other “traveler” got to see.
So do yourself a favor and the next time you decide to travel – stay a while. And go somewhere off the beaten path. There’s no need to rush things because travel is about taking it all in.